The best science-based books for raising a baby

The Books I Picked & Why

Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense

By Ellyn Satter

Book cover of Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense

Why this book?

Thanks to the ideas in this book, all three of my babies, including one born with feeding challenges, have grown into capable and adventurous eaters. Child of Mine offers a wealth of evidence-based information on what to feed your baby and why, but the true gem is the how. The main principle, the Division of Responsibility, is simple yet powerful; it helps babies enjoy food, takes worries and struggles out of mealtimes, and brings joy (back) to the dinner table.


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The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby's First Year

By Alice Callahan

Book cover of The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby's First Year

Why this book?

The Science of Mom explores the research behind nine important – and controversial – parenting topics, like vaccine safety, breastfeeding, and sleep training. I liked that Dr. Callahan covered each question very thoroughly, helped the readers understand the advantages and limitations of science, and kept her writing personal and warm. You will appreciate this book if you’re looking for an in-depth understanding of the latest research (the 2nd edition was released in November 2021) and would like the tools for interpreting future scientific studies on these topics.


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The Bottom Line for Baby: From Sleep Training to Screens, Thumb Sucking to Tummy Time--What the Science Says

By Tina Payne Bryson

Book cover of The Bottom Line for Baby: From Sleep Training to Screens, Thumb Sucking to Tummy Time--What the Science Says

Why this book?

This book is like a mini-encyclopedia of 67 common, everyday parenting questions: Are cloth diapers better than disposables? Is BPA in baby bottles a concern? Should we choose daycare or a nanny? The questions are arranged alphabetically; each begins with a statement of two competing positions, a concise “What the science says” section, a bottom-line conclusion, and sometimes a personal story. What I liked most is how Dr. Bryson infused her writing with the true bottom line: it all comes back to your relationship with your baby. Because of this book’s unique format, I found it was best read as a reference, or in bite sizes, rather than cover-to-cover.


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The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind

By Alison Gopnik, Patricia K. Kuhl, Andrew N. Meltzoff

Book cover of The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind

Why this book?

I have always been fascinated, and read a lot about, how much babies learn during their first year, but this book still captivated and surprised me. It reads like a journey into a baby’s world. The authors’ perspective helped me notice and appreciate even more the seemingly small but clever things my babies did every day and, ultimately, see them as competent little people and trust their learning process. The Scientist in the Crib won’t give you any specific how-tos, but if you wish you knew what your baby is thinking, this book is for you.


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NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children

By Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman

Book cover of NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children

Why this book?

This awesome book covers not only raising a baby, but parenting in general. Each of its 10 chapters upends traditional thinking on a parenting topic, like “how to boost baby’s language skills” and “why siblings fight”. It is so engaging that, despite being a bleary-eyed mom of a newborn, I read it in two days!


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